Niagara Gazette

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April 3, 2014

TOM'S CORNER: Dealing with diesel vehicle service requirements

Niagara Gazette — Diesel power clearly has its positives as compared to gas powered vehicles and many first time buyers will join the ranks of diesel vehicle owners in the coming months/years. It is imperative that we understand the special service/operational requirements of these vehicles as opposed to gasoline power so we make no costly mistakes. In this column I will discuss the unique maintenance items that must be followed for owners of diesel vehicles.

Changing fluids and filters

Diesel engines do not require regular maintenance tune ups like gasoline engines because they have no electronic means of ignition. Spark plugs, ignition modules, spark plug wires and the likes are not used on diesel engines. However, they still require maintenance to optimize and maintain engine operation and longevity. The most important things to service on these engines are filters and fluids.

Engine oil — Lubrication oil should be changed regularly with oil specified for diesel vehicles. If you’re looking to go the long haul (100K miles or more) with your diesel vehicle, you may want to replace your engine oil with a good quality synthetic motor oil like AMSOIL or Mobile One, #s 1 & 2 on the market respectively. Synthetic motor oil minimizes wear of internal engine parts and bearings, maximizing engine life. Just make sure you follow the viscosity guidelines the manufacturer lies down for maximum flow rate.

Filtration — Your vehicles’ owners or service manual will lay out filter changing intervals. Oil filters should be of the highest quality available. Diesel engines manufacture more ash and soot than gasoline counterparts, this dirt falls out and into the oil. Its held in suspension for the filter to remove from the oil, if the filter is not of high quality, this dirt is left in the system to circulate and damage internal engine parts. Good filters remove small micron dirt, thus protecting the engine. Change oil filters every time you change the oil. Air filters must be kept fresh and clean. Since diesel engines rely on a strong, steady air intake for ignition and combustion, a fresh and voluminous air stream must be available to the engine at all times. Dirty air filters impede performance and economy, not to mention computer engine management systems, which are constantly making on-the-fly adjustments based on available airflow and volume. Follow the maintenance schedule for change intervals.

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